Tuesday, April 8, 2008

New resolution on gift giving

Yesterday at work, people pointed out the article about the Yarn Harlot coming to Atlanta and joked, oh I'm sure you went, since you're so into knitting.

I knit at lunch and people tease me about it. For Chinese New Year, I gave everyone (all 5 of them) hand knit scarves or berets. They were all quite happy to receive them, as far as I can tell.

I mentioned that I was getting rather tired of people disrespecting knitting because it was something that old women do, and anything old women do are never worthy of respect in American society. The unspoken message being that that kind of attitude is not appropriate for our place of work, a place where our mission is about women's empowerment!

Some people mentioned how their grandmothers knit all the time, and made them sweaters and things and clothes for their Barbie dolls. So I said "jokingly" "See, so you know it's an act of love! But you make fun of the knitter and the act of knitting, and yet you're quite happy to accept the gift I see!" One person had the decency to blush.

So, between that and other disparating comments I've gotten about my knitting (including from my own husband and other relatives), I've decided that I will only knit for people who express appreciation for the time and effort I put into it.

And this goes not only for knitted or crocheted gifts, but also my handmade pottery, painting, baking, and gardening.

For me, the issue goes beyond knitting. For me, all my creativity is related and people who make fun of or dismiss my knitting are not just insulting that hobby, but by extension all my acts of creativity, and the time and effort that goes into it.

That's not to say those people don't get gifts. They just don't get anything I've put my time, effort, and creativity into, things that are precious, have value, and in short supply.

On the one hand, yes, I am crabby and cranky today. On the other hand, I agree with the discussion Brenda Dayne and Annie Modesitt's had on the Cast-on podcast about pricing their work, whether it is Brenda's podcast or Annie's knitting and designs.

The issue is about having our labor and not just the fruits of that labor being valued. And that's part of my feminism too. The issue that women's work not being valued, including my own.

The exception to all this is baby blankets. Babies don't have any opinion on the matter and parents are usually too overwhelmed by the situations and moms by nesting hormones that they don't complain.

1 comment:

KnitTech said...

The best analogy I heard about knitted items (which really applies to anything hand made): I'm giving the gift of time. If I give something and notice that person doesn't wear the item, I no longer knit for them. I have friends who love the items I make for them and I'd rather spend my engery there.

It's okay to be crabby. It happens to the best of us.